Bottles of beer are held proudly aloft throughout the tent as huge slinky rhythms fill the air.
Farmfest has an intimacy that simply defines its success. Returning for a tenth birthday bash, the event is quite rightly sold out, and in truth there’s fewer pleasures than watching it grow stronger every year.
Saturday begins with the unmistakable Rozi Plain. The Londoner brings ambient sounds to the main stage early in the day; it’s a warming and relaxed affair to get things underway. Her offbeat and quaint lyricism is welcomed with open arms by the crowd gathered, most of whom are sprawled joyfully in the sunshine.
Swiftly after Farmfest regulars Awaken The Silence embrace the birthday spirit with party hats and confetti, objects which clash vigorously with their brutal sounds. Abrupt numbers ‘Obstinance’ and ‘Harvey Dent’ ensure that those among the crowd can find an excuse to clash into one another. There’s even a wall of death during which I’m clattered to the ground. Business as usual for these guys.
The remarkable Stealing Sheep are then the perfect band to welcome in the evening. Their set proves silky, sweet and colourful as the alternative bunch roll out material from all three of their albums. A particular standout is the nonchalant and dazed traack ‘Not Real’.
Our first Bristol band of the day are Goan Dogs who instantly ensure that the whole tent is suitably animated. They drop material both old and new, with ‘Hold Me Back’ and ‘Hotel Rooms’ being clear-cut highlights. There’s a vibrancy to their music which is incredibly easy to get into. Bottles of beer are held proudly aloft throughout the tent as huge slinky rhythms fill the air. It’s a triumphant return for the band.
The Gnarwhals headline slot on The Sett stage – perhaps one of the weekend’s biggest highlights – truly brought some thrills. Their music is fun, intelligently crafted and piss-taking all at the same time. Messily scrawled upon a piece of paper, their setlist indulged in tracks such as ‘Lost My Weed’, ‘Houston We Have A Party’ and ‘Kickflip’. It was the kind of show that made you want to run back to your knackered car and blast out their ‘Fuck Cameron’ EP on full pelt swigging endless cans of cheap lager. Speaking after the set, frontman Jamie Cruickshank tells us “We’re so stoked on this festival, it’s pretty weird anyway we just signed some guys ass. We’re also really looking forward to our upcoming EP ‘Poolhouse’ so watch this space.”
We head over to catch some of Nightmares On Wax, who delivers a lengthy and wholesome DJ set. The tent is fully packed and it’s clear he’s one to have stirred some excitement on the bill. The show sets the stage well for Bristol’s legendary Phaeleh who climaxes the night with some intricate electronica. Yep, Farmfest is well and truly back and we’ve seen a sunny and talent-packed opening day.
Keep your eyes peeled for part two of our festival diary: